(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
Al Rayyan's poor run continued after Aymen Hussein hit a brace to lead Umm Salal to a thrilling win in the QNB Stars League at Thani bin Jassim Stadium yesterday.
Al Duhail, meanwhile, suffered a fresh blow to their title hopes when they were held by a defiant Al Khor 1-1, while Al Wakrah got back to winning ways after a minor Covid-19 crisis with a 2-1 triumph over Al Arabi.
It was fourth consecutive victory for sixth-placed Umm Salal, who moved to 18 points after a hard-fought win over Laurent Blanc-coached side. Al Rayyan remained eighth with 12 points after their sixth loss in 12 games with pressure mounting on Blanc. Rayyan had a better ball possession but Umm Salal availed their chances well to bag full points.
The Orange Fortress got the lead through Isael de Silva, who struck in 18th minute, with Ahmed Yasser cancelling the lead for Al Rayyan, eight minutes later. Hussein then struck goals in 35 and 66 minutes to double the advantage for Umm Salal.
Al Rayyan were only able to cut the lead when Ali Malolah scored in 77th minute but an equaliser eluded them despite many attempts.
Meanwhile, Nam Tae-hee scored for Al Duhail in the seventh minute, a lead that was nullified by Al Khor through Ismail Haddad in the 32nd minute at Al Arabi Stadium. Al Duhail raised their tally to 26 points, but are five points behind leaders Al Sadd, who have played a game less. Al Khor are 11th with eight points.
Al Duhail imposed their supremacy from the beginning of the match and had several chances, until South Korean Nam found the mark.
Al Khor managed to equalise after the half-hour mark through Moroccan Haddad, who took advantage of weakness in the rival defence.
The second half witnessed great excitement, as Al Duhail tried to progress with goals. Ferjani Sassi once and Olunga twice were thwarted by Al Khor goalkeeper Baba Djibril.
Al Duhail kept up the pressure, while Al Khor relied more on counter-attacks. However, the stalemate continued.
Elsewhere, Al Wakrah recorded a crucial victory over fourth-placed Al Arabi after early goals from Gelson Dala (7th minute) and Mohamed Benyettou (9th minute). Al Arabi could only earn a consolation goal when Abdulgadir Illyas scored in fifth minute of stoppage time. Al Wakrah – on fifth spot – are trailing Al Arabi by just one point as they moved to 19 points after claiming maximum points.
Umm Salal 3 (Isael da Silva Barbosa 18', Aymen Hussein 35', 66') bt Al Rayyan 2 (Ahmed Yasser Mohamedi 26', Ali Malolah 77')
Al Wakrah 2 (Gelson Dala 7', Mohamed Benyettou 9') bt Al Arabi 1 (Abdulgadir Ilyas Bakur 90+5')
Al Duhail 1 (Nam Tae-hee 7') drew with Al Khor 1 (Ismail El Hadad 32')
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